Jesseca Jade - Mega Models, Miami
Hair and Makeup: Jane Pittman
Ahhhh, I'm coming to this story a little late I see. When reading about something you are doing I'm always reminded of two stories. The first one is about two blind men describing an elephant. The conclusions each one will reach about what the animal really looks like will depend entirely on which end of the elephant they are standing.
The other story concerns a banquet I attended honoring a local business man here in Miami. After an effusive introduction, he came to the podium and said: "That introduction was fantastic and I appreciate the kind words, however I just want to correct a few smaaaaaaall errors. It wasn't coal I was trading, it was oil. It wasn't 5 million dollars, it was six million. And.......I didn't make the money, I lost it!"
Okay, after losing the money and being at the wrong end of the elephant I want to say that the story as related so far is generally accurate, and in some ways even more to the credit of the people involved than was suggested.
Well over a month ago I got an email from Joel Steinberg in Wisconsin (which, as everyone in the fashion business knows, is apparently some where west of the Lincoln Tunnel, even west of Jersey). He wrote about a young girl and the message included a picture. Now, Joel has been kind enough to do this in the past about people he has been working with, and often because of their age or personal circumstances I recommend that they go to Chicago and talk with the agencies there. Chicago is a fine market, you don't have to be 16 to get on the board for castings, and you don't have to make a major life style commitment just to drive there for an occasional go-see or booking.
This was different. The picture showed an amazing face with a spark of life that I rarely see in simple shots. Her stats sounded right (more about that later), and now for the hard questions. "How old and how tall is she...really? Is she willing to come to Miami, to stay here to work, and to leave here for New York (or Paris, or Milan), and never, never look back? Give her my name and number and ask her to call me."
At almost the same time I got an email from John Paul Greco (or JP as he is know here) about the same girl. Even more pictures and a link to a site with her stats. Uh oh, somewhere in the mix she lost an inch in height. Danger Will Robinson, danger, danger, danger! Still everything I had seen looked great, the more I saw, the more I was confident she could work. The key elements were going to be her actual age, height, and most importantly the strength of her desire to work in fashion. Finally she emailed me and confirmed that she was in contact because JP and Joel both recommended me (easy for them to do, neither really knows me!) and she was definitely interested. Now the hard part, I told her she would have to buy her own plane ticket to come down to Miami, and suggested an airline and the best days to book a flight. IF she would do that, I would cover her other expenses.
Then......nothing. Oh well, it happens. This is something a lot of people would like to do, are excited about the opportunity, but when finally faced with the reality of jumping out of the plane before you know whether the parachute will open things just become too difficult. "My boyfriend, my family, Christmas, the job, my friends, can't you just find out ahead of time and guarantee me something?"
No. It doesn't work that way. You have to come to the market, you must make the commitment in advance that you are going to stay, and you have to be willing to travel at a moments notice without a question. All of this and you are very young, never been away from family and friends for more than a few days, and never been to a weird city like Miami (lets face it, there never has been a TV program called "Oshkosh Vice", or "Baraboo Wisconsin Blue", or a movie titled "Fond Du Lac Confidential"). And to prove you mean what you say about actually doing the work, you have to buy your own ticket down! Sigh. Nothing, no word, no call, no nothing. And no problem, right now I have been so busy the last thing I need on my table is a lot of wasted time.
THEN, after two weeks, the email. "I have booked my flight, I'll be there on the 2nd (one of the days I had suggested), I hope you remember me!" Woof. She's coming down, and trust me, I remember her! Making the arrangements to pick her up at the airport I tell her "you won't have any trouble spotting me, I look just like the professional wrestler who became the Minnesota Governor, Jesse Ventura". If that doesn't stop her, nothing will. Finally I'm at the airport Friday morning and I'm waiting for the passengers to get off the plane. The person next to me asks who I'm waiting for and I tell them I don't really know, I've never met her. "How will you know who she is?" he asks. "Trust me, we will both know." Just then a girl is walking through the gate, and the guy says, "Wow, look at that one!". I just smile at him........and introduce myself to Jesseca.
Now, none of this happens with out three big stars, the real hero's of this story. The first two stars go to Joel Steinberg and John Paul Greco. Without their help and very supportive assistance none of this would have occurred, at least not involving me (the least important person involved). But the number one star goes to Jesseca. In the end she made everything happen. She originally contacted both JP and Joel, she shot with everyone she could, she pushed every button available trying to get the rocket motor to fire. And when the engines finally did light, she strapped herself in and without any guarantees about a safe landing, started the long ride into the cold dark night. (And that's more than an alliterative statement, she had a friend drive her three hours to Chicago in the middle of the night, she stayed alone for four hours at the airport afraid to go to sleep, and all of this to catch a 6 AM flight bound for Miami. It was snowing, it was cold.)
Fortunately, when she arrive in Miami at 10 AM, the sun was out and the wind chill was 81 degrees. Welcome to the Beach.
This is the end of Part 1. Later today I will finish the story with what happened while Jesseca was here and how everything finally worked out. Oh, she really is eighteen, and she really is 5'8 (actually slightly taller). I measured her in her bare feet, and so did every agency. They always do.
Couture Model Management
900 West Avenue, Suite 423
Miami Beach, Florida 33139